PRESS RELEASE – At the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) last week we shared the encouraging news that the region continues to perform well, attracting visitors at a greater rate during the first half of the year than any other region in the world.
During that period, the Caribbean outpaced the global average by 1.7 per cent and we were the only region to register growth of five per cent – our 5.8 per cent rise being nearly a full percentage point above Europe, the next best performing region.
While this is encouraging, we ought not to be complacent for varying reasons. We ought not to be satisfied because growth in the second quarter slowed somewhat to 4.9 per cent, compared to the six per cent growth experienced during the first quarter. We ought not to be satisfied because, despite outpacing the rest of the world, our share of the world market is approximately 2.8 per cent.
We cannot be satisfied because there is still so much left to be done in the areas of product development, the facilitation of travel to and through the Caribbean, taxes, partnerships, and innovation in order to be competitive. We certainly cannot be satisfied until we become the world’s most desirable year round, warm weather destination and until every citizen of the Caribbean is positioned to benefit from tourism.
During Caribbean Tourism Month, which we observe every November, we will have the opportunity to place even greater emphasis on these and other matters of concern to our industry. It’s also an excellent time to introduce new ideas, methods and products, to insert innovative and revolutionary thinking and to generate fresh energy into the sector.
Throughout the month the CTO will undertake a social media marathon during which member countries will be profiled on the organization’s social media platforms. It is an excellent, exciting and exceptional opportunity to be featured globally and to demonstrate to the world that the spirit of togetherness we talk so passionately about remains alive and vibrant in the Caribbean. It also helps to give meaning to the Caribbean Tourism Month theme, One Sea, One Voice, Once Caribbean.
I wish to encourage every CTO member country, every tourism organization and entity and everyone who is engaged either directly or indirectly in tourism to organize at least one activity during the month that will help focus attention on the industry. Be creative, be daring, be brave, be innovative.
The CTO will organize a number of activities, including the social media marathon to which I referred earlier. I also wish to announce a social media contest in which people are encouraged to post photos of themselves in the Caribbean using the Caribbean Tourism Month hashtag #CTM2015. You will receive details from the CTO but I encourage everyone, both within and outside the Caribbean, to participate.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the sponsors, supporters and everyone who helps us celebrate Caribbean Tourism Month, One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.
Happy Caribbean Tourism Month.